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Salute the Badge: The man who polices the police - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Salute the Badge: The man who polices the police

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Lt. Geron Wade has worked with the Missoula Police Department for over 25 years. (photo courtesy: Geron Wade) Lt. Geron Wade has worked with the Missoula Police Department for over 25 years. (photo courtesy: Geron Wade)
MISSOULA -

We all know law enforcement are there to police the public, but who polices the police? We found out in this edition of Salute the Badge.

Lt. Geron Wade has worked with the Missoula Police Department for over 25 years. He follows in his dad's footsteps, who also worked with the department for a quarter century before retiring as the chief of police.

Wade's current assignment is to the Office of Professional Standards which handles training and internal investigations at the department. He reports to a civilian board of directors to review complaints and ensure the department followed policy when handling these issues.  

"I oversee the training officer and ensure that the department receives the training they need to receive and then also any internal investigations or complaints, things along those lines," Wade said. "I work with the police commission to make sure they receive copies of all the complaints and review those quarterly. Just so that we can make sure there's a second set of eyes looking at everything that we do."

Wade also served for the U.S. Army National Guard from 1988 until retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel last year. In that role, he deployed to various international incidents including Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

"It was shocking," Wade said of Katrina. "Really to see what damage was really there right away after it happened. It's hard to describe. Even in pictures, it's not something that you can get a full sense of. Because you just get a one-dimensional view and a picture. You don't get the smell; you don't get the full wide angle view of the true devastation that community felt. We felt honored to be selected to go down there and to help out."

But on the homefront, Geron is recognized as a great husband and father, but not just to his own children. Geron and his wife have hosted eight foreign exchange students, sometimes two at a time -- from several countries including Switzerland and Venezuela.

"And really enjoyed it. Got to know them, being a part of their family and then becoming a part of our family. We shared birthdays with them, we shared holidays of what they would do on holidays and experience how they would celebrate Christmas or some other holiday that they had," Wade said.

But will there be a ninth or tenth foreign exchange student?  "Last year was our last student. We say that. We've said that before and something comes up," Wade said with a laugh.

The Wade family has also hosted students from Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden.  

This report is part of a special series where we get to know our law enforcement and emergency responders on a more personal level.

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